/ 30 November 2023

Versopolis Podcast #10: Poetry at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2023

Amalija Maček & José F. A. Oliver

The unanimous opinion is that Slovenia more than impressed the visitors at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2023. The highlights of the Slovenian programme – under the motto Honeycomb of Words – were poetry, philosophy and deep reading. Apart from a total of 250 events at the fair, the largest selection of Slovenian poetry to date was published in German translation. The role of poetry was apparent in Frankfurt with well-attended readings, demonstrating that poetry, while often not at the forefront of the scene, still finds its place in a digital, instant-solutions-oriented age. How was poetry highlighted in this year’s edition of the fair? How does poetry enforce deep reading and critical thought that is declared in the Ljubljana Manifesto on Deep Reading? These questions are addressed by Dr Mitja Drab in conversation with translator Amalija Maček and poet José F. A. Oliver.

Amalija Maček is a Slovenian translator and scholar. Together with Matthias Göritz and Aleš Šteger she edited the largest selection of Slovenian poetry in German translation My Neighbour on the Cloud. In 2021, she received the Fabjan Hafner award for the translation of the novel Moje leto v Nikogaršnjem zalivu by Peter Handke (Beletrina, 2021) and the Faculty of Arts award for her pedagogic work in the field of translation.

José F. A. Oliver is a poet, writer, the president of the German PEN and one of the most significant inter-cultural writers of German language today. He writes predominantly in German but is also influenced by Spanish poets such as Federico García Lorca. To date he has published more than 20 volumes of poetry and essays, and has received numerous awards. He was awarded the Basel Poetry Prize in 2015 and the Heinrich-Böll-Preis in 2021.